Campaign encourages all Marylanders to volunteer in their communities and give back during the Holiday Season
BALTIMORE, MD (November 9, 2011) – Governor Martin O'Malley today, joined by children at The Ark Preschool in Baltimore and officials from CareFirst, officially launched the “Maryland: Stronger Together” campaign to encourage all Marylanders to give back and volunteer during the Holiday Season. The Ark is a preschool for homeless children in Baltimore City, and serves children between the ages of three and five years old to help them develop the skills they need for kindergarten.
“In Maryland, we are a compassionate, generous people, and we share the belief that one person can make a difference and all of us must try,” said Governor O’Malley. “It is our hope that as we gather with our loved ones during this Holiday Season, we will also share what we can – whether food, money, or time – with those who are less fortunate. That’s why we are launching the Maryland: Stronger Together campaign to help our neighbors in need.”
The campaign will connect Marylanders with various opportunities to serve in their communities.
As part of “Maryland: Stronger Together,” Governor O’Malley today also unveiled a new interactive map that allows citizens to enter their home or work address to find service opportunities in their communities. Through social media, Marylanders will be able to share their stories about volunteering using Twitter hashtag #MDTogether, display an official Maryland: Stronger Together Basno Digital Badge on their social media accounts, and post photos, videos and stories on the “Maryland: Stronger Together” Facebook page.
“The Maryland: Stronger Together campaign is an important new initiative to help Marylanders get involved in their communities,” said Barbara Reynolds, director of the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism. “We know that our citizens are generous and caring; with over 1.3 million Marylanders volunteering each year to drive veterans to medical appointments, plant trees along the Chesapeake Bay, tutor youth, deliver meals to seniors, and more. With this new campaign, the Governor is creating a unique centralized and accessible tool to help even more citizens make a difference in their communities.”
The Administration is also partnering with CareFirst to introduce the “Compassionate Marylander” award to choose Marylanders from across the state who exhibit dedication to service and have made outstanding contributions to their communities. From November 10th to December 30th, citizens are asked to nominate the state’s most “Compassionate Marylanders” by submitting an essay on their nominee’s service efforts. Marylanders will be able to help select the 10 finalists by voting for their favorite story online here. A review committee compiled of members from the Governor’s Office and CareFirst will choose five winners to be announced in January from the top 10 finalists. CareFirst will donate $5,000 in each winner’s name to the charity of their choice.
“Very often, stories of exceptional service, selflessness, and kindness go untold,” said CareFirst Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Community Affairs Maria Harris Tildon. “CareFirst is proud to partner with the Governor’s Office and support the Compassionate Marylander awards program. Through this initiative, we will spotlight Marylanders who have distinguished themselves through exceptional service to others and are examples we can all follow to forge lasting improvements in our communities.”
The Governor also encouraged all state employees to volunteer in their communities. Employees will have four hours of leave time to participate in a service event during November and December. Employees must complete an “Employee Community Service” leave form. After the service is performed, the volunteer coordinator at the organization must sign the form to confirm the service was completed.
Throughout November and December, the Governor, First Lady, Lt. Governor and staff will be participating in service events to help Marylanders in need.
To learn more about the campaign, visit www.governor.maryland.gov/stronger.asp. To learn about additional opportunities to volunteer, please visit http://marylandvolunteercenters.org/.